This is the Q&A for the Yard and Garden show for April 24, 2020. Yard and Garden Live is a call-in radio show I do on KUTT 99.5 FM from 10-11:30 am and it will run through July 31, 2020. It can also be found on kutt995.com for online listening. If you missed a show or just want to read through the questions, I have written them all in my blog and will continue to do so throughout the season.
Guest Host: No guest host due to COVID-19 and social distancing
1. The first caller of the day had his yard sprayed for broadleaf weeds yesterday. How long should he wait before overseeding the lawn?
A. According to the label of Trimec, grass cannot be reseeded until 3-4 weeks after applications from the product. Any 2,4-D product would be similar. At this point, it would be best to wait until the fall to overseed the lawn, because that late in the spring would be hard to get the turf established. Be sure to tell your lawn company not to spray it in the fall until after the new grass has been mowed 3 times in the fall.
2. Can you start sweet potatoes from the sprouting sweet potatoes purchased from the grocery store?
A. You can, but they may not grow quite as well as desired. The varieties in the grocery store may not be as hardy as some of the varieties from the garden centers.
3. This caller is planting cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins and other cucurbit plants. How far apart do they need to be planted to prevent cross-pollination?
A. The cross-pollination affects the produce in the following year, not the current growth period. The produce on the plants this year will be fine, but if they cross-pollinate, the fruits produced next year may not be true to the variety you are saving seed from. They also have to be in the same species to cross-pollinate, and cucumbers and zucchini are not.
4. A caller has rhubarb plants that are producing seed heads. Why is that happening so early and should anything be done about that?
A. The cold temperatures from last week are unusual and have “confused” the plants. This has pushed the plants to produce seed stalks. When rhubarb plants begin to produce seed stalks they push their energy into seed production and not into leaf and stalk production. To push that energy back into the stalk production we desire from rhubarb, cut the seed stalks off of the plant.
5. This caller has a rose garden that has chives coming up among the roses. What can be done to manage the chives and not harm the roses?
A. Among other plants it is best to use the “glove of death” which is when you wear a chemical-resistant glove and then put a cloth glove over that. Then, dip a few fingers of the gloved hand into Glyphosate and rub those fingers along the leaves of the chives to kill it. This will likely take multiple applications over multiple years to completely rid the garden of the chives, but this is best to not harm the roses.
6. A caller is wondering what the best method is for transplanting 5 foot tall peach trees?
A. The best time for this would be in the dormant period, either in the fall or late winter months. Be sure to get as much of the rootball as possible.
7. This caller has planted the Hairy Balls plant and now grass is growing up among the plants. Can Grass-B-Gon be used in these plants to kill the grass and not harm the plants?
A. It should be fine, Hairy Balls plant is in the milkweed family which is not a grass. It would be best to avoid spraying directly on the foliage of the desired plant to ensure limited exposure.
8. This caller started lettuce, spinach, and some herbs before the snow. They have not come up yet. Will they be ok or should they be replanted?
A. Give the plants a little more time to see if they come up yet. If they hadn’t germinated yet, they should be ok, but the soil temperatures were too cold with the snow and freezing temperatures last week for them to germinate. If they don’t come up soon, you can try to reseed or move these crops to a fall garden because we are going to start getting too warm soon.
He also wanted to know if his strawberries will survive? He planted them as roots prior to the snow, and they had no real above-ground growth prior to the snow.
A. Those should be fine, because they hadn’t started to grow yet. The roots should have been protected enough to survive.
9. A caller has strawberries that are growing in a raised bed. The strawberries in the center of the bed seem to have died out. Can she move some new starts from the outside edge to the middle now? Also, what should they be fertilized with? She has some 11-15-11 can she use that?
A. Yes, it is ok to move established plants now to fill in the bed better. The fertilizer she has would be fine to use. Just be sure to follow the label instructions on applications.
10. When can a magnolia tree be pruned to allow a lawnmower underneath?
A. The timing for tree pruning has shifted a little recently due to new research. The International Society of Arboriculture has moved the time frame to correspond with the spring growth flush which would be May through early June for southeast Nebraska. This allows the tree to seal up the wound faster with less disease and insect issues.
11. This caller has snowball bush hydrangea plants that are spreading and growing into the lawn. Can he divide the plants to move the plants that are spreading into undesired areas to grow in better locations?
A. Yes, either do it now or in the fall. When you dig them up, they may be attached to the main plant, just prune that connection off to move them.
12. A caller has iris plants that had pushed new leaf growth and then were hit by the snow and the tips of the leaves are brown and discolored. What should be done with that?
A. The plants will be fine. It might be best to wait until a few more leaves appear that are not brown, then the entire leaf that is brown can be removed. Wait to get more new leaves to avoid removing all the sugar producing leaves to be removed now.
13. What are some good plants for pollinators? Where should these be purchased?
A. Good choices would include butterfly bush, butterfly milkweed, milkweed, goldenrod, coneflowers, bee balm, sunflowers, coreopsis, and many more. They can be purchased at local nurseries and garden centers. Pollinator seed mixes can be found at some seed supply companies, including Stock Seed Farms in Murdock, NE.
14. The final caller of the day planted pampass grass it started to green up, but now after the snow nothing seems to be alive. Will these plants be ok?
A. Give the plants a couple more weeks to see if they will regrow. The roots should still be fine and it is likely that they will regrow, but if nothing in a couple of weeks, there would still be time to replant these.
*Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by Nebraska Extension or bias against those not mentioned.